Wednesday, June 03, 2009
The other day, Dr. George Tiller was murdered in his church. He was an Ob/Gyn who performed late term abortions (one of only a few in the U.S. to still perform the procedure in the 3rd trimester). The usual reason for the procedure is death of the fetus & labor cannot be induced. Sometimes the mother is too ill to carry to term & wouldn’t survive a ceasarian section. A few of his patients were as young as 10. Excellent article here:
The man arrested for the crime has been described as violently anti-abortion, a forum member of Operation Rescue, and a member of The Freemen group. He purportedly is also a regular viewer of Fox News.
How did this man know about Dr. Tiller? Could it have been because of the commentary of Bill O’Reilly, who commented about Dr. Tiller by name (and location) 29 times over the last 4 years?
The question is: are these commentators & news channels within their First Amendment Constitutional rights to broadcast these pieces, which are not actually labeled “commentary”, but are passed off as “news”, or should they be held responsible for the consequences of their words?
I’ve never liked the arguments about how certain songs or movies or books (etc.) supposedly cause teens to commit suicide, or someone to hack up a family with a chainsaw, or whatever. I still believe in the concepts of free will & self responsibility. However, I also believe the news channels, news papers, etc. should be held to a higher standard. Am I wrong in this?
I would like to see the Government take back the airwaves. Remember when each station & network had to follow “standards & practices”? The argument is that cable channels (like Fox News) are paid/subscription outlets, so they aren’t held to the same standard. To which I say
I would like to see a requirement where all commentary shows are labeled just that, with a big yellow COMMENTARY or OPINION at the bottom of the screen for the duration of the program. Let the not too bright know they aren’t watching “the news”, but someone’s opinion.
To say O’Reilly is somewhat responsible in this instance is correct. If he had ranted about “abortionists” generally & this happened, no. However, he named this particular doctor many times, with the message to stop this specific doctor.
This is one time when the Hitler comparison is accurate: Adolph himself didn’t kill Jews, or gays, or the mentally infirm. He also didn’t come into office & immediately start in with the killing; he spent years ranting against the various groups, day after day, non-stop. Since it couldn’t possibly be the Germans own fault they were in such dire straits (after starting & then losing WWI, followed by the world wide Depression), it HAD to be the fault of an “outside” entity. Who better than the Jews, who historically have been vilified by all cultures? And their leader was telling them, day after day, whose fault it was. When it came time for “The Final Solution”, the populace was well primed to go along with it. Adolph didn’t have to fire a shot.
And neither did O’Reilly.